The United States Air Force plans to deploy a 'scalable modular data center' at the British Royal Air Force's Lakenheath base in Suffolk, UK.

While the location belongs to RAF, it hosts United States Air Force units and personnel and is home to the 48th Fighter Wing, also known as the Liberty Wing.

150 racks

USAF RAF Building 1035

In a request for proposals, first reported by DCD, the US Air Force states: "The contractor shall deliver and install a complete usable Scalable Modular Data Center. The contractor shall provide all professional services, facilities, labor, equipment, appliances, tools, materials, travel, installation services, reports, specifications, and drawings associated with the project. The structural and security standards shall be engineered, tested, installed, and certified."

Attached documents note that the facility should be built to Tier III standards, with a life cycle of 10 years. The first compartment of the facility "shall be a 4,400 square foot [408 sq m] space that shall accommodate 120 server racks (contractor provided)."

The second compartment "shall be 1,050 square foot [100 sq m] space to accommodate 30 server racks... if stacked as a second level it shall have a separate external staircase entrance."

The majority of the 150 racks will consume 4kW of power each, but "a total of 20 racks shall be consuming 6-8kW of power. Rotary isolators to be mounted either on or adjacent to each rack. Identification of these racks shall be determined during design."

As for cooling, the facility will use an air cooling system able to maintain 15.5 to 26.6°C (59.9 - 79.9°F) internally, within the full range of -5 to 35°C (23 - 95°F) outside air temperatures.

The data center is set to be built at 'Building 1035' on the airbase grounds. "Building 1035 currently doesn’t have adequate power source therefore new power substation location and power type (430 V, 3 phase) will also be identified during site visit," the document notes.

Installation of the system is set to begin on 1 October 2019, and is due to be completed by 31 March 2020.

In November, the UK's Ministry of Defence announced it would invest £160m ($207m) in Lakenheath to build out the infrastructure required to make the airbase the first permanent international site for US Air Force F-35s in Europe. The largest and most expensive military project in history, the F-35 Lightning II has been subject to intense criticism over whether the stealth fighter is worth the $1.5 trillion projected cost over its lifespan.